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NASCAR Winston Cup Brickyard 400 Preview -- #37, Jeremy Mayfield

24 July 1997

 #37 Jeremy Mayfield, Kmart/RC Cola Ford Thunderbird 
 NASCAR Winston Cup Series
 Brickyard 400 Advance
 Indianapolis Motor Speedway

          'My home track and a place I've always wanted to win'

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - Jeremy Mayfield has ridden a wave of strong
consistency over the past 12 races, and has become a solid top-10
driver in the NASCAR Winston Cup standings. Now heading to the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Brickyard 400, Saturday, August 2,
Mayfield is being considered by many veteran racing observers as one
of the favorites in one of NASCAR's premier events.

Mayfield, 28, is a native of Owensboro, Ky., who now considers
Indianapolis Motor Speedway as his home track. The youngest member of
the "Kentucky Boys" - the gang of five Winston Cup drivers from
Owensboro - Mayfield is easily having the best season, ranked ninth in
the NASCAR standings - and just 29 points behind eighth-place Ricky
Rudd - as well as two top-five and six top-10 finishes. He and Gordon
are the only two active NASCAR drivers under the age of 30 to have won
more than $1.8 million in a career.

Yet, it is the last 12 races - since the race at Texas in April - that
Mayfield has really shined, and the Paul Andrews-led Kmart/RC Cola
Ford team truly began to gel. No driver has come further in the
standings - from 20th after Texas to ninth going into
Indianapolis. Mayfield has completed 3399 of a possible 3405 laps
during that span of races, second only to Martin's 3403 and
Earnhardt's 3401. Mayfield and Earnhardt are the only drivers to have
finished in the top 20 of the last seven races. Since Texas, Mayfield
is seventh in NASCAR Winston Cup points accumulated.

The thoughts of Kmart/RC Cola Ford driver Jeremy Mayfield heading into

"When it comes to Indianapolis, I guess people would naturally think
of other drivers but the guys from Owensboro are as close to Indy as
any track on the circuit. Sure, none of us grew up racing Indianapolis
but I guarantee you all of us thought about Indy when we were growing
up. How could you not? Racing bicycles or, later, go-karts, everybody
pretended they were winning the Daytona 500 or the Indianapolis
500. There wasn't a Brickyard 400 at the time but, if there had been,
I guarantee you we would have been pretending to win that too. I bet
plenty of kids these days dream of winning the Brickyard the same way
they dream of winning Daytona or the 500 at Indianapolis.

"There is a mystique to Indy. I think everybody feels it. Sure, you
can go up there and say, 'Hey, this is just another race,' but I can't
believe anybody can say that and really believe it.  Man, it's
Indianapolis! You can feel it long before you get in the car. There is
an electricity about the place. It's the same kind of feeling you get
at a Daytona or a Darlington. There is a real history to the
place. You know what's gone on before you got there, and you know some
pretty great things will happen long after you're gone. Every race is
important and every race is pretty exciting. There is no comparison to
hearing "Gentlemen, start your engines," and hearing your engine and
41 others roar to life.  And that's the case no matter where it is or
what kind of racing it is. I get the same butterflies now that I got
when I cranked my late model stock.  But places like Indianapolis are
just a little bit different. It's not always easy to explain how they
are different. They're just different.

"When you've been running like this Kmart/RC Cola Ford team has been
running this year, it's hard not to be excited to get to the next
race, no matter where it is. By the same token, we've run pretty well
on the flatter tracks and we feel that gives us something of an edge
at Indianapolis. The turns at Pocono are something like the turns at
Indianapolis, flat and fast. And we ran pretty well at Pocono both
races. We were fifth in the first one, and we really had at least a
top-five car last week in the second one. The engine developed a miss
early in the race and that made things kind of tough on us, but we had
a great car and everybody worked hard to get done what we needed to
get done. Too, the oil box cover behind the driver's seat worked
loose, and that heated the seat terribly. I'm fine but it did take a
toll on my back. We had to throw rags behind me all day long. That's
the hottest I've ever been in a race car. Man, with 20 laps to go, I
was thinking about crawling into a hot oven just to cool off.

"We've been consistent and we've been a good consistent. That's what
it takes to win in this sport. To be a solid contender week in and
week out is the key to not only winning races but to being strong in
the points. You have to finish, and we've finished all but two races
this season. You have to be in the lead lap at the end, and we have
been in the lead lap at the end of six of the last seven races. You
have to stay out of trouble, and we've done a pretty good job with
that. I can't think of a more consistent driver and team than Ricky
Rudd, and we're just 29 points behind him in the standings. That's not
much (NOTE: 29 points represents the difference of as little as four
positions in a single race).

"That consistency is what we've been working on. Paul Andrews teams
have always been known for that. Look at what Geoff Bodine did the
second half of last season with Paul. Look at what Alan Kulwicki did
with Paul. And look at what we've been able to accomplish so far. I
wouldn't trade this Kmart/RC Cola crew for anybody. Our pit stops have
been great, and our pit strategy has been great. I have good race cars
every week. That builds a whole lot of confidence, me in them and them
in me.

"We'll keep on moving forward. Indianapolis is a great track with a
great tradition, and we want to do well there. But when we leave,
we're going to want to do just as well at Watkins Glen and Michigan
and all of that rest of the races. This is a long-term team with a
good long-term plan. That makes a driver awfully excited to be at the

By Williams Company of America, Inc.